Laibach

Kapital

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Recorded as communism was collapsing in Eastern Europe and while the tensions of the various Yugoslav regions were about to boil over into a brutal, years-long war, Kapital is Laibach's most extensive, longest individual album, a full CD's worth of sharp, pointed songs. Given the economic recession in place at the time -- likely inspiring the album's lead single, "Wirtschaft Ist Tot," or "Economy Is Dead" -- Laibach understandably regarded the new gods with all the disdain previously built up beforehand for the old ones. With the experiment in covering others' material behind them (at least temporarily), Kapital consists of all originals, crossing the familiar combinations of martial horns, jarring samples, barked singing, and strident orchestrations with a much more fluid use of electronic music (especially in terms of the rhythms, where the rough martial beats often give way to stripped-down breakbeat loops and pulses). Having long been identified with the industrial/electronic body music scene, by default if not always by direct intent, Laibach embraces the connection bodily here, experimenting with then-current techno styles here and there as well. It's a jarring combination in some instances but a strangely beautiful one in others -- if nothing else, the collective seemed to look at the acid house explosion and its aftereffects as merely another tool for both critique and entertainment. Many songs are instrumentals or almost on the verge of that status, but unlike efforts such as Macbeth or Baptism, Kapital is very song-oriented. The flaw of the album is that many songs come across as little different from similarly dark-minded industrial/electronic tracks from Europe and elsewhere -- Kapital is good to listen to but ultimately a bit anonymous. When at its best, though, it shows that Laibach kept the beat going even as an old world was crumbling about its ears.

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